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Boryana Katsarova August 18, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ukraine.
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Lenin Square,  Simferopol, Crimea 2014

Boryana Katsarova (b. 1981, Bulgaria) studied photography between 1998 and 2003 and holds a Bachelors Degree from the Bulgarian National Academy for Theater and Cinema Art /NATFA/. She worked as a photographer for Agence France-Press in Bulgaria between 2007 and 2010, during which time her work appeared in major print magazines and newspapers around the world. In 2010 she decided to became a freelance photographer specializing in documentary, editorial and portrait photography and since 2011 has been represented  the Cosmos Photo Agency in Paris. This image is part of a project : Ukraine: Crimea Under Siege that was funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

About the Photograph:

“The people in the photograph were attending one of the many pro-Russian rallies which were held in Simferopol and across the entire Crimean peninsula in support of the unification of Crimea with Russia ahead of the unique and internationally unrecognized Crimean Referendum that was held on March 16, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin officially recognized  the ‘reunification’ of breakaway Ukrainian region of Crimea with Russia on March 18, 2014.”

“It was really difficult to take this picture. Many people were against being photographed. It was the first time I was working in a crisis zone and the first time I have ever experienced anything like that. Just two days before, masked gunmen ran towards me and  journalist Dimiter Kenarov and pushed him on the ground. They put a gun to his head demanding his smart phone he was taking pictures with. After that they ran to me and took my Nikon D3 camera. We left Ukraine three weeks after I took this picture.”

“Today, more than five months after the Crimean crisis, the unrest in eastern Ukraine is continuing and the climate for press freedom worsens everyday. Many local and international journalists covering the situation are being interrogated, targeted, their equipment seized, and the number of the ones being killed is growing. In my opinion, nowadays bearing witness as photojournalist, cameraman or reporter in crisis and war zones is a duty, that is much harder and much more responsible than ever before.”

Andrei Riskin April 14, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ukraine.
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Rosh Hashanah, Uman, Ukraine 2012

Andrei Riskin (b. 1975, Russia) graduated with a Master’s Degree in large-scale energy production and distribution systems in 1997. The following year he moved to the United States where he worked in Silicon Valley as a software engineer for two years. In 2001 Andrei traded the comfort of a cubical for a career as a freelance event and documentary photographer. His work has been exhibited at Rayko Photo Center and The World Affairs Council in San francisco. Andrei also teaches photography at Academy of Art University and Photo Center in San Francisco.

About the Photograph:

“This photo was taken in Uman, Ukraine a place famous for hosting the yearly pilgrimage of twenty-five thousand Hassidic Jews on Rosh Hashanah. Most of them are drawn to the grave of Rabbi Nachman, the founder of the Breslov Hassidic movement who promised a year-long blessing to those who visit him on that Holiday. A few years prior to his passing away in the early 1800′s he moved to Uman from Breslov as he wanted to be buried next to those killed in a recent massacre. Throughout its history Ukraine was infamous for it’s anti-semitism  and oppression of its Jewish population, of which now there are hardly any remaining. The pilgrims, most of whom are very religious, seem to ignore the country’s grim past. Most just pray and celebrate their centuries-year-old tradition.”

Maxim Dondyuk November 14, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ukraine.
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From a project about Rosh Hashanah, Uman, Ukraine 2010

Maxim Dondyuk (b.1983, Ukraine) began collaborating with Kharkov media as a photojournalist in 2007. The same year he moved to Kiev and worked as a photojournalist in one of the country’s biggest photo agencies till 2010. He  trained at the NOOR-Nikon Masterclass and also  attended Magnum Photos workshop at the Leica Akademie. Maxim freelancers with the World Health Organization, Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, Foundation for “Development of Ukraine”, Kherson charitable foundations Mongoose. His work has been published in PDN, Wall Street Journal , Esquire, Forbes, Russian Reporter, Tyzhden, Focus (Ukraine), The Independent (UK), De Volkskrant (Netherlands), Berliner Zeitung, and Frankfurter Rundschau (Germany) among others.

About the Photograph:

“I went from the old Jewish cemetery to the lake, where the Hasidim usually bathe. Before reaching the lake, I heard the sound of a violin. I didn’t see a soul except a fiddler, so took some photos of him. After a while a lonely Hasid came to swim. I prepared to take a photo as the fiddler moved a little and the sun reflected in the lake. That was a lucky accident when everything coincided and I took this photo. It was during the Jewish celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the New Year.”

“Uman is an ordinary Ukranian town with the population of about 90,000 people which became one of the largest centers of Jewish pilgrimage outside Israel. During this period about 20,000 pilgrims from all the continents come here annually to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and to pray at the grave of the founder of Hasidism Rabbi Nahman from Breslav, who died in Uman in 1810. Before his death Rabbi Nahman swore an unusual oath: If anyone comes to my grave, sacrifices a coin and reads ten chosen psalms, I’ll catch his side-locks and will draw him out of the hells depth. And it makes no difference what he has done before. Every year more and more supporters of Breslav Hasidism gather in Uman, at the grave of their Rabbi. Rabbi Nahman’s charisma is so strong, that Hasids have never chosen his successor. I have been shooting the Rosh Hashanah project for five years and am currently finishing a multimedia version of the story.”

Misha Friedman October 24, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ukraine.
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Coal Miners, Eastern Ukraine 2010

Misha Friedman (b. 1978, Moldova) received his masters from the London School of Economics in 2000. From 2005-2010 he worked for Médecins Sans Frontières documenting the humanitarian crisis in Northern Uganda, urban violence in Nigeria, Kala Azar in India, and civil war in Darfur. His recent projects deal with corruption in Russia, the tuberculosis epidemic in the former Soviet Union and illegal migration into the EU through Ukraine. Misha’s works have been recognized by: POYi, PDN’s 30, Critical Mass Top 50 and the Forward Thinking Museum — Artist of the year. His work has recently been published in: Le Monde Magazine, New York Times, Le Figaro and Human Rights Watch. Misha is represented by Cosmos Photo in Europe and is based in New York.

About the Photograph:

“Inspired by German and French Romanticism, this ongoing project from Ukraine is my attempt to show how Nature and Man have learned to live within the industrial complex. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, much of Eastern Ukraine ended up ruined. Many mines and massive factories are lying abandoned, people are unemployed or earn just enough to survive  and nature is taking over in full force. For decades this land was a symbol of Soviet rationalism and victory over nature, but it did not take long for all of that to crumble, leaving behind ruined lives. I like this image because to a certain extent it goes against how third-world coal miners are normally presented: perpetually unhappy and miserable, forgetting that most of the time they have other emotions. Here, for instance, we enjoyed a good joke and some seriously poisonous moonshine.”

Andres Gonzalez May 4, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ohio University, Ukraine.
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Truskavets Sanatorium, Western Ukraine

Andres Gonzalez (b. 1977, United States) is currently based in Istanbul, Turkey. He is originally from California where he pursued a degree in writing from Pomona College in Claremont, California – but after a two year stint in Namibia teaching environmental education and snapping pictures along the way, he realized that photography was a much more natural way for him to express his world view. He is the recipient of the Canon Italia Young Photographer’s Award in 2009, was a Fulbright Scholar in 2008. He was selected as one of PDN’s Emerging 30 photographers in 2006. His work has been published by W Magazine, Monocle, and Wallpaper among others.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was taken in the resort town of Truskavets in Western Ukraine from a project I started back in 2006 called Sanatorium, which looks at the culture of health and healing in Ukraine. I was initially drawn to how Ukrainians who visit the springs  embrace the water’s healing qualities, but after I started making pictures I became fascinated by their history and legacy in Ukrainian culture. The history of sanatoria in the former Soviet Union goes back to the conception of the USSR itself, when mansions were seized by the Bolsheviks and converted to hospitals and clinics for the poor. Later sanatoria played an important role in healing a war-torn nation – after the Second World War the Soviet government encouraged its citizens to look inwards, both figuratively and literally through domestic travel, to explore the far-flung parts of the Union in hopes of cementing its commonality.” (more…)

Guillaume Herbaut March 13, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ukraine.
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Slaviutich, Ukraine, “Chernobyl: 20 Years After”

Guillaume Herbaut (b.1970) is a founding member of l’Oeil Public photo agency in Paris. His work on Chernobyl won the Kodak Critics Prize in 2001 and was published at Le Petit Camarguais in October 2003, also winning the Fuji Book Prize the following year. “After Oswiecim”, a documentary work on Auschwitz today was exhibited at Trans Photographiques festival in 2005. He was also awarded a grant from the French Ministry of Culture and has shown at Visa pour l’Image.  His photographs were also  exhibited at the Jeu de Paume Museum in Paris.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was taken in Slaviutich, about 50 kilometers  from Chernobyl. This city was been built after the Chernobyl explosion for workers of the plant who were left without homes. The Soviet government planned to make it an ideal city, however, after it was built, the surrounding  forest was radioactive. The children wearing masks are in School n°4 in Slaviutich, during an emergency training in case of a nuclear explosion. I’ve returned to Chernobyl numerous times since 2001 and am haunted by the place.”

Andrea Diefenbach August 29, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ukraine.
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Andrea Diefenbach (b.1974, Germany) studied photography at the University of Applied Science in Bielefeld. She graduated in 2006.  Her project about AIDS in Odessa was published as book by HATJE CATZ in June 2008 (US: August 2008). Most of her work centers on ‘concerned photography’ and social issues in Germany or Eastern Europe and has been published in STERN, GEO, DIE ZEIT, Brigitte, NEON among many others. Her work in Odessa was also awarded at the Lumix festival in Hannover, Germany in June 2008.

About the Photograph:

“I took this picture after Natascha had visited her two children in an orphanage. She was looking forward to seeing them for a long time and than was only allowed to see them for a few minutes. It was obvious that she wasn’t going to get her children back. Natascha is one of the persons I accompanied for my project about the AIDS-epidemic in Odessa, Ukraine, in spring 2006. The Ukraine holds the sad European record for new cases of infection, and is among those nations in which AIDS is currently spreading most quickly. Odessa, the port city through which the HIV virus is presumed to have been introduced to the countries of the Soviet Union, is now one of the most heavily impacted cities. Estimates by the World Health Organization indicate that as many as 160,000 individuals are infected with HIV live in the city of one million.”

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